Day 4 of action at the QS3,000 Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House was all or nothing for surfers as the last two rounds of four-man heats were disputed in pumping waves again.
Long Left Gives French Goofy Foots a Head Start in Morning Heats
Timothee Bisso and Paul Cesar Distinguin shared a Final a few weeks ago in Tenerife on a long, lefthand reef that both surfers absolutely annihilated. Sure the scenery was much different today, colder water, much bigger swell, but the underlying common factor was there, a big open wall going left.
Bisso won the event in Tenerife, and then went on to win the inaugural Senegal Pro so it's fair to say he's got a whole lot of confidence going at the moment. Advancing through his third heat today, the Guadeloupe surfer looked sharp, calm and collected and will be a tough draw in the rest of the event.
"It's been pretty much the same the whole week," he said. "A bit bigger today so you do have to adapt and try to find those open faces and I'm happy I was able to find a couple. I did see Vasco (Ribeiro) go surf that right but for me it was all about the left, I think it's a bit better and it worked out well."
Distinguin opted to go to Brazil and Peru after Tenerife but unfortunately couldn't quite produce the same results, and is out to re-gain momentum in Santa Cruz. He was in control of his heat today until the final seconds when Luel Felipe caught the winning ride. However the Frenchman advanced in second and kept his campaign alive, even reflecting on a little victory he already had in this event.
"I did get one back over Tim in our Round 3 heat, we had tough conditions but I managed to finish ahead of him so I'm stoked," he said. "Waves here today look a bit like some of the lefts at home in France with a big rip in it so I'm really comfortable and having fun out there."
Felipe got the come-from-behind win with his last wave scored 7.83 on his way in but also got a little scare out of his last turn, and thankfully looked alright after a few limping steps on the beach.
"That wave was really powerful and when I landed that turn I almost got into a layback," he said. "When I tried to get back up I forced too hard on my knee and I hurt myself a little bit but I'll be alright."
Stacked Round 6 Matchups Set Up Exciting Finals Day
Ribeiro stepped into the next gear and posted a very convincing effort in the afternoon with a brilliant display of power carves on the rights outside while most surfers struggled to find gems close to shore on the left.
In the following heat, Jorgann Couzinet took a page out of Ribeiro's book and went to town on the long rights as well to post excellent numbers and nab his ticket for the Quarters. The Reunion Island power surfer has established himself as a legitimate candidate for the Championship Tour in the past couple of years and needs to kick start his 2019 campaign after a deceiving launch in Australia.
"I saw the rights started to offer more potential and I was happy to get out there on my forehand," he said. "Everything's going well so far and I really want to do well, last year unfortunately I hurt my back here so I didn't get a chance. I'm excited about tomorrow's finals, I think I'm ready to surf either lefts or rights and can't wait to get it going again."
Frederico Morais took out the final heat of the day and picked up his game after yesterday's close call. But it was an underdog called Thomas Debierre who racked up the heat's best single digit and shocked the field as he eliminated Rafael Teixeira and Bino Lopes to make his way into the Quarters.
Debierre is not a complete stranger either to anyone following European surfing, the young surfer from Guadeloupe has been on podiums in Junior events until last season and is starting to make his mark on the Qualifying Series. After a 3rd in Tenerife and a 9th in Senegal, he's guaranteed his best result (points-wise) on the QS this week and will have a shot at upsetting more top seeds when the event resumes on finals day.
"I didn't start really well but I'm happy I found that good one to make it through," he stated. "To make it all the way from Round 1 is awesome, it's also a marathon and that heat was exhausting with the strong current, I'm off to recharge the batteries now to come back tomorrow on form. I've got nothing to lose, I'm just starting on the QS and have no ranking, so to be able to surf against some of the guys who were on the CT and beat some of them is awesome, I'm exciting and pressure-free for the finals tomorrow."
The final call will be made at 9:30 a.m Saturday for the start of the Quarterfinals and potentially crown the 2019 Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House winner early in the afternoon.
Watch the Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House LIVE on the WSL platforms from April 8-13, and check out daily recaps, pictures, videos and more right here.